What’s Your Love Status in Chinese? (Ⅰ) (Elementary)

Valentine’s Day is coming, and all over the world people are buying chocolates, cards, and getting ready to celebrate with that special someone. But what about you? Do you have a special someone? We know that love can be a complicated affair, so today we’re going to explain some of the different conditions of one’s love life and how to say them in Chinese.

1. 单身

单 (dān) means “single,” 身 (shēn) is “body.” 单身 (dānshēn) means someone whose relationship status is single. If the person is male, people can call him “单身汉 (dānshēn hàn),” which means “bachelor.”

Nowadays, more and more young people are putting off getting married. They are busy with their job, getting higher education, or maybe saving money. These individuals are inclined to call themselves 光棍儿 (guānggùnr) rather than 单身 (dānshēn). 光棍儿 (guānggùnr) literally means “a single stick.” This is a humorous way to say “single.” 光棍儿 (guānggùnr) is always combined with the verb 打 (dǎ), and 打光棍儿 (dǎ guānggùnr)” means “to remain single.” The 光棍儿 (guānggùnr) aren’t worried about the single life, in fact, they have their own holiday, 光棍儿节 (guānggùnrjié), on November 11. (Doesn’t the number 11 look like two sticks?) In English this holiday is called Bachelor’s Festival or One’s Day and is a day for single people to get together and relish in their singleness.

Are you 单身 (dānshēn) this Valentine’s Day? Or maybe you have to 打光棍儿 (dǎ guānggùnr). If you are single but you want to change that aspect of your life, try saying “我喜欢你 (Wǒ xǐhuan nǐ, I like you)” to that lucky person you want to be with this Valentine’s Day.


a. 单身 (dānshēn): single


Nǐ yǒu nǚ péngyou ma?
A: 你 有   女    朋友     吗?
Do you have a girlfriend?

Méiyǒu, wǒ shì dān shēn.
B: 没有,   我   是   单    身。
No, I’m single.

b. 光棍儿 (guānggùnr): single; bachelor


Wǒ bù xiǎng dǎ yíbèizi guānggùnr.
我   不   想     打 一辈子   光棍儿。
I don’t want to remain single all my life.

2. 暗恋

Is there someone special in your life? Does your heart beat wildly when you see them? Have you held out in confessing your love to them? In Chinese, we call this situation 暗恋 (ànliàn). 暗 (àn) here means “secretly” and 恋 (liàn) means to fall in love with. So 暗恋 (ànliàn) is an unrequited or a secret love. On Valentine’s Day, this might be called a secret admirer.

No matter if you’re male, female, young, or old, 暗恋 (ànliàn) are very common. But why not confess one’s love? If the girl or boy you are falling in love with is a Chinese, the following sentences will help you cope…rather dramatically:

Wǒ ài nǐ!
a. 我 爱 你!
I love you!

Wǒ yìzhí hěn xǐhuan nǐ.
b. 我 一直   很   喜欢   你。
I have always liked you.

Nǐ kěyǐ zuò wǒ nǚpéngyou ma?
c. 你 可以 做  我    女朋友      吗?
Would you be my girlfriend?

Nǐ shì wǒ de mèng zhōng qíngrén.
d. 你 是  我  的    梦      中       情人。
You are the man/woman of my dreams.


暗恋 (ànliàn): unrequited love


Tā ànliàn wǒmen de lǎoshī.
她   暗恋    我们    的  老师。
She is secretly in love with our teacher.

Have you mastered 单身 (dānshēn) and 暗恋 (ànliàn)? Try to use them in your oral Chinese and join us in our next issue where we’ll learn how to express more love statuses in Chinese.


1. What’s the meaning of the sentence “我是单身。(Wǒ shì dānshēn.)?” _________

A. I am fat.

B. I am single.

C. I am slim.

2. What’s the meaning of the phrase “打光棍儿 (dǎ guānggùnr)?”_____

A. Remain single.

B. Beat the bachelors.

C. Fight for your love.

3. What does the Chinese word “暗恋 (ànliàn)” mean?______

A. Public love.

B. Unrequited love.

C. Arranged marriage.

See answers
Further Reading:
Chinese test: How do you say “wear” in Chinese? (Elementary)
How Numbers Became Magical in Daily Life? (Elementary)
Chinese Nursery Rhyme: Toothbrushing (Elementary)
HSK Test
General Chinese (Beginner Level)
General Chinese (Intermediate Level)

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